Out-ception + The Hangunder

Over the last couple of years, my friends and I have tried our hand at attempting to recreate the magic of movies through spoofing one we like.

This was the first trailer we cut for “Out-ception”…

The finished movie…not that we did it in a week with literally no story. It did decently, around 400 views (okay, that’s not a lot, and considering we did a lot of publicity too…) Still, it was great fun…

Last year we did a follow-up to “Out-ception” with The Hangunder (you’ll never guess how we got those titles!). I feel it was a step back from where we should’ve been (my dad thinks so too), but hopefully next time we’ll make a proper short film…

Tell us what you think in the comments…

Hang Over/Under trailer comparison

Last year, the guys at school and I decided to make a spiritual sequel to Out-ception for Smaraneeyam 2012. In a great flash of genius, we called it….The Hangunder. Here’s where we drew inspiration for the trailer from:

Needless to say, our short movie didn’t have the budget, the story, the time or even the camera to come close to that. But, can’t say we didn’t try.

Tell us what you think in the comments…

Oscar live blog

Jean dujardin: I’m not a star, im human?

The fashion analysts carefully analyse tina fey and some actress’s skin tone…

It’s funny how the actors look so listless right after their quickie interview ends in front of the camera..

You have to watch snl’s parody of unstoppable: chugga chugga choo choo!

Jlo should be asked why she’s still in hollywood…

Jlo on why she loves the oscars: publicity through cleavage…

Nick nolte looks like hes confused as to why he’s here…

How is zach galifiankis a legendary actor?

Penelope cruz says she had nothing to do with he dress…what does she usually do?

Where’s javier bardem? Oh yeah being a badass villain on the set of skyfall…

I’m probably not going to watch te Oscars fully…accomplished that mission last night.

This reporter uses adjectives involving the loss of breath with regards to describing women…

It’s sad to think that while these pretentious douches are patting themselves on the back…there are Somalian kids who can’t afford to see movies…#feelingguilty

Wonder if the muppets are walking the red carpet…oh Jason segel is…

Never try watching the tree of life when you feel the least bit sleepy…I tried that..

Brad Pitt is still playing Billy beane….

Every celebrity is “stunning”…

I thought Rooney mara would show up as lisbeth salander…

Jlo was watching the artist on valentines day #vetti

Billy crystal before the ceremony: oh honey, not again…

Why didn’t they show sacha baron Cohen as the dictator on the red carpet?

I got bored already….

Hanging with the Gods

The board exams bring out the best in people: the hard working side, the silent side, the lack of facebook side (really?) and the religious side. Today I brought out my religious side, and went to three temples. Here are some excerpts from my thoughts:

1. Went to Nanganallur, never hang out in that part of town. Went in a bus, where this guy was asking for donations (begging) and gave me this pamphlet explaining his situation. Didn’t want to give him money because it sounded like a scam, but everyone else started giving, and so I did too (#herdmentality)

2. Went with mother. She’s a devout person, but that really hasn’t passed on to me. Punal is in bad shape, smells like dead fish (wonder why). I’m agnostic, which my father takes as me wussing out on the whole God decision. “You either are, or aren’t”, he says. Ah well, some decisions are best left hanging, to be made according to the situation. I mostly went because I wanted to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, best not to leave everything to chance (hence the studying, says my uncle).

3. On the way saw great places for shooting. I always look out for those kind of places. Places like this HUGE public ground where guys where playing, cricket, football, volleyball and just about any sport you could have out in the open with a bunch of other guys. Reminded me of 127 hours opening…also saw a long fish market next to a McDonald’s (#irony).

4. Next took an auto from the bus stop to the inner depths of the Sanctum Sanctorum of Chennai. Every which way we turned, there was a temple. My mom said she went to these temples since she was ten. I doubt I’ll be telling my kids that. The autokaaran took the long way there, and my mom got pissed (funny how I was chill when it was time to go to a temple). Had this weird story idea for a detective movie, involved a pink badger (#heathallucination)

5. First stop was the Raja Rajeshwari Temple. Was dark, as if the idols were like Dracula and would flame on in the sun. We were standing in the queue for an Archana ticket (really, a queue? I say!). It took quite a while actually, because there was a grizzled old coot giving the tickets. He seemed half-asleep, what with it being Sunday and all. Had another scene idea where a hitman arrives in this sleepy part of town, enters the temple, goes to the old guy, gets the ticket and pays with a bullet (#wordplay).

6. I had to take off my shirt. The little girl standing next to me started crying. Wonder why guys have to take off their shirts here (there’s a nasty joke involving what the gods want). Went to the first idol, that of the Lord Ganesha a.k.a Elephant, where the priest said if we wanted an Archana with this god, we had to get another ticket. Talk about commercialization….I mean if you really followed religion, why would you monetize it (I’m talking about the spiritual side of it, not the practical side)? I’ll bet Ganesha didn’t say, “You want my blessings, mortals, you gotta pay.” When the priest asked my mom for my star details, her voice changed to a more…calm voice. That’s the voice she uses at temples, quite unlike her home voice. The priest unfortunately couldn’t hear us…and so started a cycle of repetition.

7. Next walked around until we came to the main Goddess, Rajeshwari, who was waiting for us atop golden stairs (#notjoking). We climbed up and did the Archana part, and then…my mom started singing. As she was singing, she was holding up the line behind us (#trafficjam). Old ladies started complaining, as usual.

8. At temples, people have to sit down for a while. Just sit. My mom started chanting some sahasranamam, while I had another story idea. What if all the gods were in Parliament, voting over what decisions to make about peoples’ lives? Rama, Krishna, the Pandavas and the popular gods would have veto over the proceedings, and refreshments would be the bananas and coconuts that people give the idols. And they would be debating over random things, like whether India should win a match or not (#snl). A remake of that idea by Hollywood would be Christian gods and saints…something to think about…

9.  My mom became a hypocrite when she was chanting those shlokas, kept telling me not to get distracted by my environment. Yet she was getting distracted by my very presence. After I told her that, the buzz in my ears stopped. We then visited the founder of that temple, another old grizzled man (#notacoincidence), who my mom knew ever since she started coming there (to find out when, read the above stuff closely, the answer is in there (like you would care (if you did, I pity you))). This guy’s place was so silent it made the silence of America on the 9/11 memorial days pale by comparison. I wonder what he does there everyday…just sit there and read holy books?

10. We then went to the Hanuman temple. The Hanuman over there is huge, like 37 feet or something.He was so huge that there was a flight of stairs behind him so that his minions (priests) could clean him, feed him milk, dress him up, you know, like how huge 37 foot monkey stone gods usually are. I remember the few times I was there: the Paal Abhishekam (Milk Bath) was quite cool. You should go check it out sometime, I mean, who wouldn’t (#sarcasm)? My favorite God is Hanuman, but I don’t know why. I’ve always thought of him as a superhero who doesn’t flinch in the face of danger (see: Hanuman and Raavan face-off that leads to the burning of Lanka)

11. The Hanuman temple was quite crowded, in complete contrast to Temple 1. It’s so crowded that I accidentally elbow an old lady (probably the last physical contact with a man’s elbow in her lifetime). Also, unlike the previous temple, there’s food. Hot pongal graces my hands and fills my stomach. There’s a secret to making this kind of pongal that restaurants need to acquire. Once acquired, huge profits await. And it’s not just pongal, I mean, any prasadam in these huge temples is probably the best in the city. I can understand why the less privileged tend to hang out around these places: kick ass food and guilt-ridden people in search of performing good deeds.

12. Ran into mom’s friend and her family. Don’t know them that well…have hung out with them a couple of times. The usual question about the boards were asked: How is board exam preparation going? I as usual replied: Going… On to the next temple!

13. Temple 3 was the Hayagreevar Temple, he of knowledge and education (or so they say). This temple was crowded as well, by board examinees such as myself, in an attempt to make a last minute plea to Him in order to get them through this period of torment and anguish. These pleas were, as you can predict, milked for their monetary value by the temple trustees.

14. The highlight of the trip to this temple happened when everyone in the temple congregated at the feet of the main idol, Sri Hayagreevar himself. As is the case in Sankara School, the guys and girls were separated, with the guys’ shirts taken off (no girl screamed this time). I was stuck between two older men, with backs rivaling the entanglement of medium sized bushes. And as we waited for it to end, there was bodily contact, I’m sorry to say. And I squirmed. ‘Twas horrifying. Somehow, next to the steps leading up to one of the idols, lay a Sony box. And just when you thought there were limits to advertising. Idea: temples can make money through advertising, since they’re anyway commercializing religion. Why not go all out? And temples are a huge source for aimless individuals, probably poor decision makers (they’re at a temple out of their own choice? Yeah right). And then there would be no need for archana tickets. Call me a twisted person, but hey, isn’t the world twisted.

15. The trip there was over, and the trip back began. Our trusty autokaaran was waiting for us (partly because he had to as payment was due and partly because he wanted to get blessed himself) and we sped along to my uncle’s place, then to my grandparents’ house and then back home. There’s nothing quite interesting to report about those trips, mostly because THEY’RE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

That is all. If you are reading this, clearly you have nothing else to do.

The Adventures of….I’m sorry who was that again?

Let me start with the facts. Out of the many comic icons that exist in the realm of the illustrated character, none of them is more universal than Tintin. He was created at the dawn of visual media in the 1930s, and he traveled the world with his adventures. The comics were simplistic in style, yet gave more entertainment than so much crap kids watch on TV today.

I was lucky enough to grow up with Tintin. I actually have all the comics, except for the first two (which I found in bookstores much after I had built my current collection, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets & Tintin in Congo). My father gave me The Black Island more than ten years ago (fuck that seems like a long time). Each comic was a pretty quick read, but they were stories you could read again and again and find new stuff from the illustrations or dialogue. The characters especially were wacky: Snowy, Cuthbert Calculus, Captain Haddock, The Thom(p)son twins, Bianca Castafiore, Nestor, Rastapopolous, Castafiore’s husband who played the piano, Red Rackham, that old Scottish seaman, Omar Ben Salaad, the list goes on. But after the Tintin phase, I grew up, and it was in my subconscious. Which is why I never paid much attention to the news that Steven Spielberg was adapting Tintin into a movie. On the surface, I knew it would never work, and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn proves my point.

                           The old…

The Adventures of Tintin has a plot that is an insult to the comics: it mixes up a variety of stories to satisfy where the plot is going. It has three of the best writers in the business today: Steven Moffat (who created the kick ass reinvention of Sherlock Holmes), Edgar Wright (he the fanboy king, who directed Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Joe Cornish (the director of Attack the Block, last year’s breakout action indie), and it seems as if they threw in too many seemingly good things on the page that ended up as disappointing. For example, the climax of the movie involves a crane fight (don’t ask me how) between Haddock and Sackarine that’s a bunch of nonsense.

The plot starts out from The Secret of the Unicorn, where Tintin (Jamie Bell) gets the model ship and is followed by Sackarine (Daniel Craig, and this character is never in the comics). He decides to find out more about the Unicorn after a stranger warns him about it (like he doesn’t have anything else to do, (which he doesn’t)). He gets mixed up in a whole mess of danger, with Haddock and Snowy, after he finds a scroll hidden in the model. And guess what? Castafiore has a role in this story too…as well as Ben Salaad.

                               …..and the new (blistering barnacles!)
First off, the animation in this movie is great stuff, but it makes the characters seem a bit….weirder. After seeing Tintin in so many comics, this 3D avatar of him seems strange. The same can be said about the Thomson twins, who seems like fatter than their 2D avatars. Secondly, the voices of Tintin and Haddock are just weird…what nationality are they? Scandivanian? Maybe I’m just nitpicking.

The movie starts with a 2D title sequence like Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, but there’s no epic score driving the sequence. It feels lazily done at the last minute. However, I enjoyed the many references to all of the comics, and those references occur throughout the movie.

I expected more from Spielberg. He’s done 4 Indiana Jones movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark remains one of the best adventure films of all time), Minority Report and all of his movies have well orchestrated set pieces. This movie gave him the opportunity to break his own boundaries, but he seems content with doing the same old nonsense that today’s Hollywood action movies do (slow-motion, improbable chases, seemingly wicked camera angles). At some points, the editing leaves some shots for too long, breaking the pacing. There is no great music from John Williams and the animation at some points is horrible. It’s like Spielberg’s crew said let’s make a quick animated movie and see what happens.

There’s a sequel in the works, with Peter Jackson at the helm, so hopefully they get it somewhat right next time. For now, I’m content with a 2D book in my hand (no Kindle, thanks) and using my imagination to take me to the depths of the sea, the far reaches of space, and the wilderness of the Amazon. If Herge saw this movie, he would say thundering typhoons and billions of blistering barnacles, I should never have sold the rights to an adaptation….